March 20, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Thursday of the Second Week of Lent

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’“

Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):

     Looking at the whole of the four Gospel accounts, we can relate the pericope of the poor man Lazarus in today’s reading to the Lazarus in John 11, the brother of Martha and Mary, the one that Jesus raises from the dead.  In Chapter 12 of John’s account, the Pharisees plot to kill both Jesus and Lazarus to make sure that all traces of Christ’s ministry is erased from people’s minds.  What Abraham says to the rich man in the Lucan account is fulfilled by John’s story: not all believe despite witnessing a man come back from the dead.

     Is it possible for us to see how we are like the Pharisees in our persistence of not living out the Gospel?  Despite countless proofs of God’s love for us as Our Father, Christ’s realistic example as a person fully human as well as fully divine, and the Holy Spirit’s undeniable gifts made sensible through the Church’s sacraments, it seems we still lack the commitment to be genuine Christians, disciples of Christ.  When we look at the world we live in and see how all necessary things are gifts given freely by God – such as the body we have, the air we breathe, the time to do all we choose to accomplish – why do we complain of scarcity, so much so that we covet what belongs rightly to other people and intensify poverty and crime in society?  When we see the needs of our brothers and sisters, do we bother to help, by either word or action, or do we wait for someone else to do so?  After receiving the Holy Spirit in Baptism, are we now living our lives in a manner fitting a child of God?  We cannot continue to claim to be Christians and yet persist in living like pagans, as if Christ is a stranger to us.

     We are adopted children of the Most High, brothers and sisters of Christ, recipients of the Holy Spirit.  The God who creates, redeems, and sanctifies dwells within us.  Let us live out this precious gift of life we have received in a manner that shows our gratitude to the Loving Giver.

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